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10.03.10

OOXML Patent Lock-up Teaches Microsoft and Others That Software Patents Hurt

Posted in EFF, ISO, Microsoft, Open XML, Patents, Standard at 7:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Digital lock

Summary: Lessons to be taken from the i4i vs Microsoft case and the real story behind amicus briefs in this case

THE i4i vs Microsoft case has led to OOXML troubles. Microsoft knew about it all along [1, 2, 3], which is why ISO was urged to invalidate OOXML after it had foolishly sold out.

Microsoft’s booster/insider Alex Brown keeps provoking about OOXML and patents right about now, but we’ll leave that alone for the time being because it’s not worth stirring up this hornet’s nest again. He too knew about this problem, but as the BRM convenor for OOXML he kept quiet about it. He had a job to do and that job was seemingly to promote Microsoft, not do the duties he was assigned to carry out for ISO.

Microsoft is currently trying to escape the trap set up by i4i after the very shrill Microsoft cheated i4i and even took some pride in it. Microsoft wants to get rid of i4i’s patent/s and spinners of this (mobbyists in particular) take it out of context by pretending that Microsoft’s patent policy is reasonable and that the EFF supports Microsoft. As the FFII puts it, this is just a case of:

#EFF against i4i #XML patent

It’s a software patent and Microsoft et al. knew about it years ago yet hid the issue in order to market OOXML, which is a story of corruption.

Ryan Paul wrote about it and so did Groklaw which has a full amicus brief presented as text:

Seriously, Google, Verizon, Dell, HP, HTC, and Wal-Mart, if you can believe it, have together filed an amicus brief [PDF] in support of Microsoft’s petition for writ of certiorari [PDF] in the i4i patent litigation case Microsoft lost both at the District Court level and on appeal to the Federal Circuit. HP and Dell submitted amicus briefs before in support of Microsoft, back when the case was being appealed to the Federal Circuit, but after Microsoft lost again there, the crowd in support has grown. And they all give the court an earful about just how messed up the patent system has become.

It’s a new day, ladies and gentlemen, when Wal-Mart gets it that the patent system is destructive to business and destroying innovation. A number of others have also filed amicus briefs, including EFF together with the Apache Software Foundation, Public Knowledge, and the Computer & Communications Industry Association. You can find more amicus briefs in Nick Eaton’s article in the San Francisco Chronicle, but I thought you’d particularly like to see the Google brief, so I’ve done it as text, because Google uses the same firm that represents them against Oracle in the patent litigation regarding Java and Android, King & Spalding.

Rob Weir is meanwhile showing that ISO is a farce. “Costs over $100 to view,” he writes “#FAIL RT @isostandards: ISO/IEC standard for special mathematical functions (C++) http://ow.ly/2MiPR”

If ISO allows patent traps (even from trolls) to become “standards”, then ISO renders itself obsolete.

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